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Tampa Bay doctors weigh in on coronavirus-related mystery illness blamed for deaths of 3 children in US


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The nation’s top infectious disease doctor had a warning on Tuesday morning during a U.S. Senate hearing on the coronavirus.

“We don’t know everything about this virus, and we really better be very careful particularly when it comes to children,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Specifically what is unknown at this point is why kids do not seem to be as prone to getting the virus as adults.

But 8 On Your Side turned to Dr. Juan A. Dumois of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg to ask about a mysterious illness in children that seems to stem from COVID-19.

“There’s this new condition where kids are presenting with fevers, rash,” he said. “And they look very ill. They’re miserable appearing and it looks a lot like Kawasaki Disease, something we’ve known about for 50 years.”

The doctor said it affects the skin, eyes and blood vessels.

Experts explain it appears in children who have fought coronavirus, then had their immune systems go into overdrive.

It can be deadly, but there are no known cases in the Tampa Bay area. Incidents have popped up in New York and Massachusetts as well as nine other states, according to NBC News. Some have been deadly.

Dr. Patricia Emmanuel, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, advises parents with concerns to seek immediate help.

“If you’re worried and you want your child to be evaluated, take them to their physician, take them to their provider,” she said. “I think it’s important that we talk about it and we’re aware of it so it can be recognized.”

Both doctors tell 8 On Your Side that people must continue proper hygiene and social distancing to keep themselves and their children safe and healthy.

“I think that right now it is really important, it’s vital, for people to continue to minimize their potential contacts with sick people or people who might have the virus out in the public. Just because businesses are reopening, does not mean the pandemic has ended or that it’s going to end soon,” Dr. Dumois said.


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